World Social Work Day, IPSPI Reveals The Role of Social Workers in Times of Pandemic and Stigma of the Profession

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Independent Indonesian Professional Social Workers (IPSPI) held a series of activities in commemoration of World Social Work Day (WSWD), on March 15, 2022. The day, is celebrated simultaneously around the world, especially by member states of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW).

As the only professional association forum for all social workers in Indonesia, IPSPI held a series of WSWD activities from Tuesday, March 15, 2022 to Friday, March 18, 2022. The first day’s activities were Webinars with the theme Positioning Social Work in an Eco-Social World Building New Partnerships and Aliances. Keynote speaker in the seminar was the Minister of Social Affairs, Tri Rismaharini.

The speaker of the seminar was Laura Fragiacomo from Child Protection Specialist – UNICEF Regional East Asia and Pacific, Prof. Do Van Trai from the University of Labor and Social Affairs, Trung Hoa Ward, Hanoi, Vietnam, and Trihadi Saptoadi (Board of Trustees of Wahana Visi Indonesia). The responder is Prof. Bambang S. Laksmono, MSc with moderator Ni Luh Putu Agastya, MSW.

In his opening remarks at Session 1, Chairman of IPSPI, Drs. Widodo Suhartoyo, MSc said that this WSWD commemoration is the third, which is celebrated online in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “In the first year of the Covid pandemic, we even canceled it,” Widodo suhartoyo said.

Independent Indonesian Professional Social Workers (IPSPI) is the only professional association forum for all social workers in Indonesia. IPSPI, established on August 19, 1998, in Jakarta is an active member of the International Federation of Social Work-Asia Pacific (IFSW-AP).

“As we all know, the IFSW is the world body for professional social work and has official consultative status with the United Nations and other world bodies,” he said.

This year’s World Social Work Day takes on the theme: “Co-Building the New Eco-Social World: Leaving No One Behind”.

“This theme speaks of unity in building a just and sustainable future for all, and lest anyone be left behind in these development efforts,” Suhartoyo said.

It was revealed that, countries in the world are experiencing a crisis due to the COVID-19 Pandemic that destroyed the order of life and created deep gaps and social exclusion. “These conditions challenge all of us to build strategies to deal with the impact and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Widodo said.

Therefore, through the Commemoration of World Social Work Day in 2022 is expected to encourage critical thinking of social workers. Especially to think about how to build alliances and values in society in building a new eco-social world order that is inclusive for everyone.

“World Social Work Day 2022 is expected to also be a prime opportunity for the social work profession to engage all networks and communities of social work practices on values and principles that enable all people to be respected for their dignity through a shared future,” Suhartoyo said.

It was said that during this time, social workers worked at the grassroots helping the marginalized and vulnerable. In addition, social workers also strive to support them in the face of life’s challenges, help build their capacity to be able to help themselves, represent them in advocacy efforts.

“Pandemics do not discourage social workers from helping at the forefront of services and continue to try to protect the public from the worst effects of pandemics and continue to open access to needed services,” Widodo said.

All the hard work and work full of human values and professionals of social workers who are full of risks, said Widodo Suhartoyo, is still faced with stigma against the profession, underestimated, marginalized, and rewarded inappropriately even paid low in the context of the minimum wage.

At the same time, Widodo Suhartoyo reminded that there are currently challenges that social workers still have to face in practice. Among them are: deepening economic inequality and social exclusion; impacts of the climate crisis and environmental damage; erosion of working conditions and fading of social norms and institutions; and the potential threat due to savings efforts in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In this series of WSWD events, some of our activities are carried out. These activities in addition to strengthening the role of Social Workers in Indonesia, are also to fulfill ipspi’s obligations as a social workers’ professional organization to Law number 14 of 2019,” said Widodo Suhartoyo.

Best Devotion

Social Minister Tri Rismaharini who was present as Keynote speaker in the WSWD commemorative Webinar, motivated that social workers were not discouraged and continued to give their best service. In the midst of increasingly complex task challenges, Mensos considers Peksos a noble task.

“Most people think peksos is just his job. When in fact, the task of peksos is heavy, because it faces people with disabilities and so on. Although heavy and underestimated, this task is of high grade in the eyes of God,” Mensos said in a Webinar commemorating World Social Work Day organized by independent Indonesian Professional Social Workers (IPSPI) today, Tuesday (15/03) as posted on the kemensos.go.id page.

Mensos motivated Peksos to work earnestly and devotedly. “If we can give our best, we give. Don’t then measure social work by numbers,” he said.

Mensos stated that the challenges of social worker tasks are quite heavy. Cases of violence including sexual violence against children tend to increase. “So the most important thing is how we can respond quickly to challenges,” Mensos said.

To overcome the complexity of the challenge, Mensos advised that Peksos strengthen collaboration. “Strengthen cooperation with others, for perfection belongs only to God. We join hands like tagana, PSM and other social pillars,” he said.

By joining hands and working together, Mensos believes we will be able to solve social problems. “We will be better prepared to provide services to those in need,” Mensos Risma said.

The second day of activities organized by IPSPI in commemoration of World Social Workers Day is a talkshow with the theme: Best Practices of Indonesian Social Workers in Building Sustainable Eco-Social during the Covid-19 Pandemic. At the event held on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, present as speakers were: Dindin Komarudin, AKS from Kumala Foundation, Zaenal Abidin, S.Sos, M.Si from DPD IPSPI East Java, R. Vienna, AKS., MBA from DPD IPSPI Kalsel, Marianus Jago, SST., MM from DPD IPSPI NTT and Rahmat Hidayat from DPD IPSPI Bengkulu.

On the third day of the event, a seminar was held with the theme: Challenges and Opportunities in Redesigning The Practices of Social Workers in the Post Pandemic Covid-19 with Drs speakers. Tata Sudrajat, MSi (Deputy Program Impact and Creation Save The Children), Maria Lauranti (OXFAM Country Director) dan Vierna David (UN Women-Consultant).

The fourth day, Friday, March 18, 2022, is planned to be held Focus Group Discussion by the Indonesian Social Welfare Student Communication Forum (FORKOMKASI) with the theme “Challenges to Social Work Practices in the Era of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and Society 5.0: Responding to Social Work Professional Education”. (*)

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